There are nearly 4,000 colleges in North America. Comparing them and discovering the interesting opportunities that exist on each campus can be fun. It’s helpful to have some criteria in mind to evaluate whether you would be happy at a particular school, but don’t limit yourself. Lots of students enroll at “dream schools” that they didn’t expect or didn’t meet all of their criteria. Think broadly! What do you want to achieve during your time in college? In what ways do you want to grow and be challenged? What kind of people do you want to live with and learn from? Remember, you don’t have to figure out the rest of your life—just where you want to spend the first few years of it!
Colleges that Change Lives: https://ctcl.org/
Liberal Arts: http://www.liberalartspower.org/Pages/default.aspx
For specific program details, always consult the school’s website and admission office directly.
Everyone should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), regardless of income. Some colleges require it for merit scholarship consideration, but even if those colleges aren’t on your list, it’s good practice. If you experience a loss or financial catastrophe, it’s much easier to approach the financial aid office when all of your paperwork is already complete than to try to tackle it in the middle of a crisis. Many families feel intimidated by the prospect of completing financial aid forms, but they’re actually fairly straightforward. My advice is to break the process into steps. First, create your accounts; second, gather all the documents you need; and then sit down to complete the forms. Remember to utilize the available resources.
CSS Profile: https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
General Financial Aid Information: http://www.finaid.org/
For school specific policies and deadlines, always consult the school’s website and financial aid office directly.
The format of the SAT has changed 3 times in the last two decades. In that time, the ACT has become increasingly popular and widely accepted. So has the “test-optional” movement. In 1998, there were 281 schools with test-optional policies, now there are more than 1000. The landscape has changed! So has the test-prep industry. We administer practice tests at College, Career & Life because too many test prep companies still prey on students’ fears, convincing them that they must invest a great deal to have more college options. While higher test scores can increase some opportunities or scholarship potential, admissions committees always use the transcript as an indicator of college readiness. Therefore, there are a range of options, at a variety of price points (or free!) that work well for students. Some students see great improvement with self-study, some love virtual tutorials, some prefer group sessions, but most, in our experience, have the greatest success with one-on-one tutoring. Remember to chose the format that works for your learning style and schedule.
Test Prep: https://www.applerouth.com/ and https://www.compassprep.com/ We have heard the folks at both of these companies speak often and believe in their philosophy and how they support students. Both of these sites provide useful resources and details about the tests and how they compare.
Test Optional: http://fairtest.org/
For school specific policies and deadlines, always consult the school’s website and admission office directly.